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Time to shine a light on cowardly internet trolls

Kindness, courtesy and being yourself matters. When you bump into someone in the street you exchange friendly pleasantries. When you are down the pub you engage in friendly banter. People may debate things but it's usually about setting the World to rights not angry words. What you don't do is pretend to be someone else and hurl abuse or make threats without consequence.

So why does anyone think it's OK to behave like that on the Internet? Why do people think it's acceptable to hurl hate from behind the cloak of anonymity? On Twitter the Labour MP Stella Creasy was threatened with rape as part of a vicious campaign of hatred. This campaign of anonymised hate was unacceptable and sick. The McCann family have had to go through what no parent ever should. They lost their daughter Madeleine. Yet they too were the subject of anonymised Twitter hate.

It's not just Twitter. Anonymous internet cyber bullying drove 15 year old Ciara Pugsley to suicide. No child should be subjected to that and a life ended before time brings despair to us all. Impersonation is a growing problem. Internet grooming sees older people posing as young people to entice our children. Criminals routinely try to trick us out of our money with identity fraud.

It's hard enough for us as adults to navigate the new World of social media communication and the Internet. Yet this is going to be the World our children live in. We need to ensure we hand over to our children a World that is as safe and secure as can be. Part of this must be to ensure the Internet is cleaned up.

Let's be clear. The Internet is a wonderful thing. It has changed our lives and transformed how we communicate. Knowledge is accessible from the touch of your keyboard. We need to keep all that is best yet dump that growing darker side.

How can we clean up the Internet? The bottom line is you don't hurl abuse at people you meet in the street because they know who you are. You are accountable and must take responsibility. We cracked down on poison pen letters in the past. We dealt with the deep breathers who used to call people up with call tracing.

Accountability and responsibility can be brought to the Internet too. By ending Internet anonymity. It's time Parliament considered laws to ensure that the identity of all people using twitter, bloggers, Internet chat room people, face bookers and the like were all known and logged. That would stop the people who con, threaten and terrorise in their tracks. We must take back the Internet from the weirdos, the trolls and the cowardly.

Conservative run Dover District Council is moving ahead with plans to demolish Burlington House and redevelop the site on Dover's Townwall Street. Do you support this?

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Dover & Deal Conservative Association, 54 The Strand, Walmer, Deal, Kent   CT14 7DP
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